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School of Law

Criminal Practice Clinic

Through this Clinic, students will represent clients who have been accused of criminal conduct.  Hearings will take place before a jury in the Municipal Court for the City of Columbia.

The clinic will afford participating students an opportunity to gain first-hand, closely supervised training and experience in the representation of real clients and the practice of the arts/skills of litigation planning, client counseling, fact development, negotiation and courtroom advocacy. The vehicle for such training and experience is the planning, preparation and presentation of the legal defense in actual cases involving allegations of criminal conduct. All casework will be done under the supervision of a clinical professor. In addition to the cases there will be assigned readings, lectures, discussions, and demonstrations. Criminal Practice Clinic places emphasis on jury trial practice before the Municipal Court for the City of Columbia.

Will Anderson

Criminal Practice Clinic Testimonial: Will Anderson, Class of 2020

Participating in the Criminal Practice Clinic was one of the best decisions I made while at Law School. I represented real clients all the way from discovery to actual resolution of their cases. Additionally, I was able to represent clients in Bond Court in front of a Magistrate Judge and even counseled a client who wished to plead for time served! Regardless of whether a student is interested in Criminal Law though, the Clinic offers a unique opportunity to practice and hone oral advocacy skills in court in front of South Carolina Judges.

The Clinic was also a wonderful chance to hone legal writing and research skills. Over the course of the semester I drafted all types of discovery motions from Rule 5 motions to 404(b) motions requiring disclosure of prior bad acts. I also spent time researching defenses for Clients and analyzing the issues specific to their case to help mount a vigorous defense.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Professor Gaines. The Clinic made me a more seasoned advocate and gave me a unique opportunity to practice law as a student. I would highly encourage students to take this Clinic in their final year as they will gain invaluable courtroom experience and will be writing and filing motions with the court – which is exactly what many lawyers do each and every day in practice.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.